In this Issue: February '18
Feb 01, 2018 08:30AM ● Published by Jason Huddle
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
February is Black History Month, but how and when did it take shape, and by whom? We answer those questions.
It’s also a particularly fitting time to spotlight some African-American standouts in our community. Ella Mae Small and Hank Alston are two such individuals. Small took over her late husband Allen’s seat on the Concord City Council after his passing and has continued to serve ever since. Alston has been a long-time volunteer in the business community through the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce and has now stepped out on his own as business owner.
We also take a look at our own area’s past when it comes to racial relations. Spoiler alert: Sometimes it’s hard to look in the mirror.
It has been almost 25 years since the Concord riots of 1993. You don’t know what I’m talking about? It’s okay. Most people – even those who lived here at the time – don’t talk about it. It’s a black eye on our proud history. Growing up here, I always thought of this area as progressive when it came to race relations. I had friends of all races. We hung out and had fun together. There was no “us vs. them” mentality that I can recall. But one hot week in July 1993, we discovered as a community that we hadn’t come as far as we thought.
Regardless of our past, though, I am proud of our diverse county. I am thrilled my children have been blessed to grow up in an area where they have been exposed to a variety of cultures and perspectives. The only way we’re ever going to achieve true racial harmony is if we are willing to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and try to see things through their eyes. It is my hope that we’re on our way to that future now. Time will tell.
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